February 26, 2021

3 musts in medical translation

Translation is vital. As a tool, it connects businesses with their customers, decision makers with multi-billion pound deals, and people with professionals they need for their health and wellbeing.
Of all sectors, it’s probably healthcare that’s the most challenging but the most important to get right. Because when it comes to interpreting and translating medical documents, every word, every nuance, every part matters. 
With globalisation, the world is also getting smaller. In any given country on any given day, health carers at all levels could be dealing with patients from 10 to 15 different countries, each speaking their own native language. But even with this challenge, practitioners must still provide uncompromised medical care. Which means diagnosis, medications and advice must be delivered seamlessly. Which can be easier said than done. 

1. Being fluent in Medical 
Medical translation by its nature is a very complex field. It not only comes with specialist language, but knowledge relating to the human body, health conditions and medications. 
So as well as being proficient in a range of languages, translators working in this sector also need to be fluent in medical terminology. Without this experience, they simply cannot provide doctors, nurses and other practitioners with useful or accurate documents. What’s more, they’re likely to put patients at risk.  

2. Having specialist knowledge
Of course, having experience is one thing. But if it’s not the right experience, then the translation process can be just as precarious. 
With medicine itself having such a diverse range of specialisms, it makes sense for its translators to have the same in-depth knowledge and expertise. Which means any company offering medical translation should be able to call on any number of experts, each well versed in their own medical specialism.  

3. Knowing the intended use 
Medical translation isn’t a one size fits all solution. Knowing the intended use for the document can make all the difference to how it’s approached and delivered. 
If a document was being shared between practitioners, for instance, it’d be worded differently than if it was going directly to the patient. So knowing the intended lines of communication enables the translator to tailor the translation – from the level of technicality of the target language and amount of medical detail, to the type of language and sensitivity used to discuss the health issue at hand.  
Without a doubt, the world of medical translation can be one of the most challenging. But when approached the right way, it can end up being a real life saver. 
At THG Fluently, we’ve been providing specialist healthcare translation and interpreting services to private and public organisations for more than 17 years. In that time, we’ve learned what it takes to provide the linguistic and localisation support you need to break down communication barriers no matter the distance between carer and patient. So if you’d like to learn more about how we can support you, feel free to get in touch. 

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